More Americans Seeking Cosmetic Surgery: 22 Percent Increase in Procedures in 2004

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Recent Study Exposes Patient Motivations, Trends and the Future of Facial Plastic Surgery


New York, NY, March 21, 2005 – Americans continue to turn to facial plastic surgery to enhance appearance and smooth the lines of time according to a recent study released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). Facial plastic surgeons report a 22 percent increase overall in cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures compared to last year.

The annual study, which reports the latest trends in facial plastic surgery gathered from board certified AAFPRS members, shows that overall the most sought after procedures from 2003 to 2004 were filler injections, up 115 percent, and Botox, up 107 percent. In addition to these two large increases, there have been significant increases in procedures among men. Laser resurfacing and forehead lifts both increased almost 300 percent, while Botox injections were up 210 percent.

The survey reveals that non-surgical procedures are a major priority for many patients who are looking to refresh their complexions or maintain their youthful appearance. Approximately 220,400 chemical peels and 262,600 filler injections took place in 2004*. At the same time, however, invasive (surgical) procedures are also on the rise. Approximately 130,400 men and women underwent blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) in 2004* and 107,400 patients did undergo rhinoplasty (nose surgery).

“This year’s AAFPRS survey clearly illustrates that many patients are opting for less invasive procedures, but also shows that more and more men and women are also undergoing surgeries like rhinoplasty and face/neck liposuction,” said Dr. Steven Pearlman, president of the AAFPRS. “By looking at these statistics, it is evident that facial plastic surgery has become a norm. However not all elective procedures are for everyone and a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon will help determine the best procedure(s) for each patient.”

When it comes to why patients elect facial cosmetic surgery, AAFPRS surgeons report that men and women consistently cite the same reasons for their decision. Looking younger is the primary motivation for both genders. Men were also likely to report receiving facial cosmetic surgery for work related reasons (22 percent). Facial plastic surgeons also said that 23 percent of women opt for surgery to “look less tired” and “to look/feel better” (17 percent). Over half of all patients (54 percent) have had multiple procedures in the same year.

Several noticeable trends were confirmed by the Academy’s survey. Nearly half of the surveyed surgeons have seen facial plastic surgery given as a gift in the past year. Another significant trend worth noting is the increase in teens undergoing cosmetic surgery (37 percent of surgeons identified this as a trend). Nearly equal in popularity are couples that chose to refresh their appearance together at 35 percent. Medical spas also continue to rise in popularity with 14 percent of surgeons saying they perform non-invasive procedures in this setting.

As reported in previous years, women tend to be the most likely candidates for facial cosmetic surgery-nearly eight in ten facial cosmetic procedures (78 percent) were performed on women. The most common surgical procedures for females were eyelid surgery, nose surgery and facelifts, while non-surgical procedures included Botox, filler injections, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. Botox for women showed a 92 percent increase from last year.

Not surprising, the majority of surgeons say that patients are not requesting specific celebrity features when they come in for cosmetic surgery, but rather view themselves as individuals and do not identify with celebrities. However , when asked, some men specifically desire Brad Pitt’s features (7 percent), particularly his nose, as well as George Clooney’s appearance (3 percent). Women most desire Angelina Jolie’s lips (11 percent), while three percent mention features of Nicole Kidman, particularly her cheeks and nose.

What does the future hold for facial plastic surgery? Responding surgeons predict that more fillers will be introduced to the market and a heightened focus on patient safety will continue to be a focal point in the industry in the years to come. Forty-eight percent of surgeons agree that the popularity of facial plastic surgery in reality television will subside. Finally, more than one-third (37 percent) of doctors feel that overall patients are getting younger.

“Each year this study is conducted, we gain more and more insight not only about the most popular procedures, but also a better understanding of what patients are truly seeking and thinking when it comes to facial plastic surgery,” says Pearlman. “AAFPRS surgeons are face specialists who are dedicated to helping patients feel better about themselves and information from member survey’s like this certainly benefit the patient.”

Dr. Pearlman and the AAFPRS remind all patients to make informed decisions when it comes to undergoing any facial plastic surgery procedures. Most facial plastic surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery-a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). Many AAFPRS members are also board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery, deemed equivalent to an ABMS Board in every state that has reviewed its credentials.

About the AAFPRS:

The AAFPRS is the world’s largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons with more than 2,600 members – whose cosmetic reconstructive surgery focuses on the face, head and neck. Academy fellows are board-certified and subscribe to a code of ethics. In addition, the AAFPRS provides consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in their area by calling 1-800-332-FACE or by visiting the AAFPRS Web site,


* = The survey is based on those who responded and projections reflect 2,000 active AAFPRS members.